As a new postdoc working in a bio-math interface discipline, I often wish I had more formal math training than my math minor many years back. Compared to others who came from more of a math/physics/engineering background, I would like to 1) retain and improve my proficiency in basic math (linear algebra, differential equations) and 2) gain more confidence in tackling new problems that require original analytical derivations.

I'm currently trying to spend 1hr/day just doing problems or going through lectures online. However, I have never heard of anyone else, grad students or postdocs, who make this sort of effort to keep up their level of math prowess. Am I being really absurd and should just focus on my immediate career tasks and stick to my strong suit instead of wasting time on daily math workout?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Adam Hughes, Mike Pierce, graydad, user223391, Matt Samuel Jun 24 '15 at 4:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Totally off topic, but I felt like my heart skipped a beat after reading "wasting my time on daily math workout". $\endgroup$ – Stefan Mesken Jun 23 '15 at 22:51
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I may expand this comment into an answer, but for starters, how about answering questions here on MSE as a way to practice? Works for me! Cheers! $\endgroup$ – Robert Lewis Jun 23 '15 at 22:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is an indetermination principle at play here. You have two poles:focus on your task, the one you are paid for, and losing the opportunity to learn new and master old mathematics, and spend time on general mathematical workout, at the risk of dispersing your concentration and your time. The right way is of course to find the delicate equilibrium between the two. This is arguably the hardest part of a PhD-postdoc program, for me at least. $\endgroup$ – Giuseppe Negro Jun 23 '15 at 22:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Giuseppe That is the dilemma. $\endgroup$ – neither-nor Jun 23 '15 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I learned in statistics that if you ask a biased audience you will not get an objective answer. The people who come hear believe in spending their time on a daily math workout and will encourage you to do the same (not at the expense of your career of course). $\endgroup$ – Amy B Jun 23 '15 at 23:16

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.